Seventy Years Ago - Are We Any Wiser?

6th of August, 1945 
80,000 people died 
In a firestorm burned alive 
Hiroshima, my love..

Tears and memories mark the place 
Morning when men fell from grace 
Paper cranes small children make 
Hiroshima, my love..

Ring the peace bell in the park 
The flame of peace a tiny spark 
Pray for peace in every heart 
Hiroshima, my love..

Born from rubble, born from ash 
Willow trees reclaim the past 
Let there be world peace at last 
Hiroshima, my love..

Ring the peace bell in the park 
The flame of peace a tiny spark 
Pray for peace in every heart.. 
..Hiroshima, my love.

Seventy years ago, August 6, 1945, the first atomic bomb was dropped by the U.S. on the Japanese city of Hiroshima.  At least 80,000 people died, burned alive in a firestorm.  

The U-235 uranium which fueled that bomb, so innocuously named Little Boy, was enriched in my home town, Oak Ridge, Tennessee.  Both of my parents worked on the project.

Seventy years later, the Y-12 Nuclear Weapons Plant in Oak Ridge continues operating twenty four seven.  Today, the U.S. arsenal includes thousands of nuclear weapons of many types, all many times more powerful than Little Boy.  And the U.S. arsenal is still maintained on hair trigger alert.

What does hair trigger alert mean?  According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, it means that our warheads are ready to launch at a moment's notice, making all of us and the world less, rather than more safe.  

When will we be wise enough to stop the insanity?  As the Union of Concerned Scientists observed shortly after Little Boy and Fat Man were dropped over Japan, the only way for any nation to win the nuclear game is not to play.  

A new national park was recently created to preserve the sites of the Manhattan Project in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, Los Alamos, New Mexico and Hanford, Washington.  The only worthy mission of such a park, in my opinion, is the study of peace.  We could and should establish an international institute here for the study of conflict resolution, justice, cooperation and peace. 

We don't need to celebrate the Bomb; it's nothing to celebrate.  We do, however, need to take what we've learned from that sad turning point in human history, the dawn of the nuclear age, and study how to live peacefully with one another, for not to do so is suicidal.

 I doubt that more than a handful of tourists would ever come to Oak Ridge because they love the bomb.  I do believe that many people would travel from all over the world for the love of peace.  The world, especially young people, is so very hungry for peace.  

Be well and good luck,

Martha Maria  

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